Associate Professor of Law & Medical-Legal Partnership Director
BioMedha D. Makhlouf is the Elsie de R. and Samuel P. Orlando Distinguished Professor, associate professor of law, and the founding director of the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic at Penn State Dickinson Law. She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine.
Her research interests lie at the intersection of health law, immigrants’ rights, and poverty law and policy. Her current work focuses on immigrant access to health care and the many ways in which immigration status functions as a social determinant of health. Medha’s scholarship has been published or is forthcoming in the New York University Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review Online, the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics, and several other academic journals. She has also contributed a chapter to Disability, Health, Law, and Bioethics, an edited volume stemming from the annual conference of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. In 2017, she was selected as a Health Law Scholar by the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics and the Saint Louis University Center for Health Law Studies based on the originality of the thesis of her article, Health Justice for Immigrants, and its contribution to the scholarly literature. Her recent work, The Public Charge Rule as Public Health Policy, has been cited by litigants and amici curiae in four federal lawsuits challenging the 2019 regulations expanding the scope of public charge inadmissibility.
As director of the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, Medha supervises law students in direct representation of individuals who have health-harming legal needs. The Clinic aims to reduce health disparities and improve health in vulnerable communities through collaboration with medical providers and public health practitioners. Currently, the Clinic focuses on representing immigrants in matters involving access to health-supporting public benefits. Medha was named a 2020 Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity to support the Clinic’s collaboration with the International Healthcare Professionals Program, a community organization providing comprehensive support to international medical graduates on their journey to becoming licensed physicians and nurses. Medha received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Brown University and her law degree from Yale Law School. After law school, she served as a public interest fellow at the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project in Boston and at Asylum Access in Quito, Ecuador; as an associate attorney at Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston; and as the Medical-Legal Partnership Staff Attorney at the Central West Justice Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. She joined the faculty at Penn State Dickinson Law in 2015.
The principles that guide Medha are being deliberate, intentional, and clear about why she does what she does; seeking combination and commonality in seemingly siloed disciplines, experiences, and perspectives; being passionate about removing barriers to potential; and believing that everyone has the ability to create a life of positive impact. These principles are the foundation of her work to advance health equity through law and policy.